WHERE IS THE ABH LEAGUE?
Whenever the ABH league is in full swing, saturday mornings are always punctuated with scintillating football matches and the electrifying atmosphere at the five-aside pitch wedged between E block and F block cannot be overlooked. Either by sheer brilliance or by a ray of luck, we witness how teams battle for points that would place them in a vantage position on the league table. The real surge of anticipation is always clearly written on the faces of the respective team owners and coaches as they bark out orders from the touchline. With supporters cheering and opponents booing from the stands, it is always a beautiful sight to behold. Undoubtedly, the league remains one of the most popular events in the UCH community.
However, for sport lovers and ardent followers of the league, stopping it abruptly without a definite date of return was not an idea they relished. In a discussion with the ABH FA chairman, Olaoluwa Olorunfemi, ABH Press went an extra mile to probe the reasons for prolonged stoppage of the league.
The FA chairman revealed that the league was put on hold based on the instruction of the hall warden, Dr Uchendu. Due to the rising cases of the omicron variant last December, a ‘ban on contact sports’ was put in the place to curtail the spread of virus; and the league had to be temporarily suspended till further notice. He however noted that the FA planned to resume the league last month but it dropped the idea when the upcoming hall week was taken into consideration.
“We also considered the fact that the 2K18 tenure is likely to be very short, it can’t be more than 5-6 months, that will be extending from April to probably September or October. It will be very unlikely that they will have a full ABH league. And also, the 2K19 exam, meaning that 2K19 and 2K18 exam in quick successions, I mean, some people are just finishing exam now, MBBS 2K18 will be starting in April”; he continued.
When asked about speculations indicating that the FA was deciding to have a cup in lieu of the league, he refuted the claim.
“There is no cup, we are not playing a cup. We initially included the cup because we’re trying to meet up with the March end of tenure but we can’t meet up with that again”
He further noted that if the FA decides to have the cup, perhaps, during the second part of the league, then that would be another discussion entirely.
ABH Press also sat down with some team owners to understand how they felt about the prolonged absence of the league.
The owner of Skippo FC, Adebayo Sodiq was clearly not pleased with the management of the league. He mentioned that the league is very important to him and his players. He noted that the absence of the league has really affected him and his team.
“For now, I don’t really have contact with my players because I don’t know when we will start again and we can’t train for something that we don’t know when we will start”, he said.
Stampede FC’ boss, Adejumo Sheriff, also shared similar views with Mr.Sodiq.
He revealed that the state of his team had not remained the same since the suspension, owing to the fact that some key players had graduated in the just concluded session and as a result, will not be available when the league finally resumes. The major issue facing him now is how to find suitable replacements.
He saw reasons with the FA chairman on why the league has not resumed, as he is also preparing for exams in April. However, he opined that had the league commenced earlier, it would have been concluded before players start writing exams.
Oyebamiji Toba maintained that the suspension had damaged his team’s aspirations and dampened his players’ morale.
“It affects Avalanche because we fancied our chances of winning the league. We were second on the table before the indefinite suspension…and of course one of the toughest teams to face. So the suspension has in a way killed the team morale”, he said
He was also concerned about the fact that most of his players are final year students, who will be graduating very soon and the moment they leave, they will no longer be available to play for the team.
When the team owners were asked if they had taken steps to ensure that the league restarts, their replies indicated that there is little that they can do on the matter.
Hopefully, when the things are clearer, the league will resume as proposed by the FA.